“A Healthy Developer is a Happy Developer”

This statement may seem a little cliche, but its 100% true. When I became a developer 5 years ago the first that that I saw decline was my health.

I started relying on energy drinks to get me through the nights of coding, fast food because I didn’t have time to eat healthier and less exercise because I spent so much of my time programming.

In the past few months I’ve been trying to get healthy again and I’ve come to realize one important fact: I’m much more happy now that I’m healthy. So here are my tips to stay health as a developer.

Stay Away from Highly Caffeinated Drinks

I used to drink more than two energy drinks a day just to keep up with the long hours of development. This routine of programming, drinking red bulls or full throttles and other highly caffeinated drinks did a number of my health.

I was constantly feeling sick or just tired and no matter how many drinks I had I never felt totally awake. At the pinnacle of caffeine, I felt depressed and could barely get any work done. Caffeine can cause a rise in blood pressure and increased anxiety and I certainly felt it.

One of the best things I did to get healthy was to cut off almost all of my caffeine consumption. If you want to be a healthy developer you need to cut back on caffeine.

Keep Active - Exercise At Your Desk

Believe it or not, exercising is a great way to stay healthy! As redundant of a statement as that was, most developers don’t exercise. The great thing about exercising is that you can do it at your desk without breaking a sweat. Here are a few things you can do while sitting down.

  • Sitting tall in your chair, stretch both arms over your head and reach for the sky. After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher, then the left.
  • Let your head loll over so that your right ear nearly touches your right shoulder. Using your hand, press your head a little lower (gently, now). Hold for 10 seconds. Relax, and then repeat on the other side.
  • Sitting up straight, try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold, and then relax.
  • To stretch your back and strengthen your biceps, place your hands on the desk and hang on. Slowly push your chair back until your head is between your arms and you’re looking at the floor. Then slowly pull yourself back in. Again, 15 of these.

All of these things can easily be done during the work day and they’ll keep you active while your programming. For a little bit more exercise, I recommend doing the 100 push up challenge . If you follow the progressive push ups training program, they say that you’ll soon be able to do 100 push ups. I’m personally trying this over the next 6 weeks.

Take Regular Breaks To Refresh your Mind

We’ve mentioned here before that taking breaks is essential for a developer. Taking breaks gives your body a break from being in front of a screen for so long. You can rest your eyes, stretch your limbs and be active.

Breaks also give yourself a chance to be social with other people. I know I used to lock myself in a room and not talk to people. Humans are meant to be social and when we aren’t it can take a toll on our health and happiness.

One final thing that taking breaks does is relieve stress. Developers are always taking on more than they can handle and taking a break from it all will relieve stress and keep you healthy (trust me, I know from experience).

Join a Sports League

If doing exercises at your desk wasn’t enough for you, go out and join a local sports league. In a lot of cases you can find leagues that are free (or nearly free) and join with other people. This keeps you healthy in a number of ways.

  1. Keeps you active
  2. Keeps you social
  3. Keeps you away form a desk

Joining a league allows you do try something new and it also keeps your body active. Playing sports is also a lot of fun and all of these reasons increase your health, which in turn increase your happiness.

How Do You Keep Healthy?

We’d love to hear how you stay healthy in your life. Have you joined a sports league? Have you quit drinking those Red Bulls? Feel free to drop us a comment as to how you manage to stay healthy, or if you haven’t yet, what your plans are.

Also, if you have any tips or tricks feel free to share them as well.